By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
SEATTLE — Give the University of Washington men’s basketball team an A for effort.
Against visiting Oregon on Wednesday night, the Huskies played hard and a noisy crowd at Alaska Airlines Arena contributed all the help it could.
But in the end Washington simply missed too many shots to get past the streaking Ducks, who moved atop the Pacific-12 Conference standings by a half-game over idle Arizona with a 65-52 victory.
A UW team that scored 96 points in its last home game against Arizona State could barely muster half that total against Oregon. Washington’s 52 points were a season scoring low, one below the 53 points the team scored vs. Connecticut on Dec. 29 and again vs. Arizona on Jan. 31.
And against Oregon it was not for lack of chances. The Huskies had open looks time after time, and just could not convert. They ended up shooting only .350 from the field (21-for-60), and only .154 from the 3-point stripe (2-for-13).
The Huskies stayed in the locker room for several minutes after the game, and when they emerged guard Abdul Gaddy did not have a lot of answers.
“We just didn’t get it done,” said the UW senior. “That’s the main thing.”
The loss means the Huskies have lost seven of their last eight games, and the onetime Pac-12 leaders — they opened their conference schedule with four straight wins — have since dropped to ninth in the league standings.
And the recent slide has been hard for everyone on the team.
“We’ve got some guys who are upset, me included,” Gaddy said. “The whole team’s upset.”
Offensively, no Husky struggled against Oregon more than guard C.J. Wilcox, the team’s leading scorer at 17.7 points a game. Wilcox finished the night with just nine points, his third lowest total of the season, while making three of 13 attempts from the field and only one of six from the 3-point line.
Washington started slowly, spotting the Ducks a 7-0 lead as the visitors made three of their first four field goal attempts. The Huskies, meanwhile, were struggling from the field, and had no baskets outside 12 inches — two layins and a dunk — until Gaddy dropped in a pull-up jump shot nine minutes into the game.
Gaddy’s shot came in the midst of an 11-2 Washington run, a burst capped by a terrific end-to-end play by the Huskies. Center Aziz N’Diaye began the sequence with a blocked shot of Ducks center Tony Woods. The ball popped high in the air and Washington’s Desmond Simmons leaped to tip it ahead to Gaddy for a breakaway layin.
That put the Huskies on top for the first time, 15-14, but it would turn out to be the only time. Oregon quickly regained its offensive rhythm led by forward Carlos Emory, who scored nine of his team’s next 12 points.
The Ducks led 33-27 at halftime, and the second half was more of the same for Washington. The Huskies were still within six points midway through the period, 46-40, but then managed just six points over the next almost seven minutes as Oregon pulled away to a double-digit margin.
The Huskies host Oregon State on Saturday night.